2018 Beard Awards | SAVEUR

Behind the Beards: A Look Behind the Scenes at the 2018 Beard Awards

There was caviar, a beard trimming station, and a flask for everyone

On Monday night, the Chicago Lyric Opera House was flooded with chefs, bartenders, restaurateurs, and lots of tuxedos for the James Beard Awards, that annual mashup of The Oscars and prom night that honors restaurants, bars, and the people who make them happen. This year, the theme was Rise, to "celebrate the collective spirit of our community and the power of food." SAVEUR and the Park Hyatt Chicago hosted the second annual JBF Pregame Lounge in the hotel's Water Tower Suite, where nominees were able to relax and get ready for the awards with hair styling by Mario Tricoci Salon and beard trims and express manicures by Merchant & Rhoades. We then headed to the Opera House for the James Beard Foundation awards, where photographer Matt Taylor-Gross shot a behind-the-scenes portrait session with the winners and some of SAVEUR's good friends, including chefs Amanda Frietag and Hugh Acheson.

spritzes made with Mionetto and Aperol

Guests were served delicious spritzes made with Mionetto and Aperol.

Matt Taylor-Gross

caviar

You can't pregame without a caviar bar.

Matt Taylor-Gross

potoato chip

Park Hyatt Chicago makes what was easily everyone's favorite potato chip. Pro tip: This chip is best when topped with a pile of caviar.

Matt Taylor-Gross

caviar

Regalis provided caviar for the party-goers.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Park Hyatt Chicago Spread

The Park Hyatt Chicago provided a beautiful spread of all things charcuterie and created an unforgettable party!

Matt Taylor-Gross

Chicago's Merchant & Rhoades

Guests were provided with beard trims and shaves from Chicago's Merchant & Rhoades.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Stacy Adimando and her husband Steve Graf

SAVEUR's editorial director Stacy Adimando and her husband Steve Graf of Valkyrie Selections smile for the camera before the party starts.

Matt Taylor-Gross

bubbly

You can't have a party without bubbly.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Chicago brewery Goose Island

Chicago brewery Goose Island pours some of their finest.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Julie Marshall

Julie Marshall of the James Beard Foundation gets a hair touch-up by Mario Tricoci Salon at SAVEUR's JBF Pregame Lounge.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Katie Button and her husband Felix Meana

James Beard-nominated chef Katie Button and her husband Felix Meana stop by the SAVEUR Pregame Lounge before heading to the awards.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Jesse Valenciana

Jesse Valenciana, Goose Island, receives a beard trim from Merchant & Rhoades.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Karrie Kimble and Betsy Fox

Karrie Kimble from Philosophy Foods and Betsy Fox of Fork Lift Foods smile for the camera.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Juanita Dickson

Juanita Dickson, President of Gusto54, enjoys an Aperol spritz at the JBF Pregame Lounge.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Zachary Golper

Beard Nominee Zachary Golper of Bien Cuit gets a nail buff at the JBF Pregame Lounge.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Juanita Dickson, Matt Rogel with Stacy Adimando

Juanita Dickson, Matt Rogel, beverage director of Felix Restaurant, and Stacy Adimando smile for the camera.

Matt Taylor-Gross

hef Levi Raines, Bywater American Bistro, and James Beard winner chef Nina Compton

Chef Levi Raines, Bywater American Bistro, and James Beard award-winning chef Nina Compton stay hydrated at the SAVEUR party.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Writer Stacey Ballis and Extra Crispy editor Kat Kinsman

Writer Stacey Ballis and Extra Crispy editor Kat Kinsman enjoy some Aperol spritzes at the JBF Pregame Lounge.

Matt Taylor-Gross

David Greene and his wife, chef Rose Previte

NPR Morning Edition host David Greene and his wife, chef Rose Previte of James Beard-nominated Maydān restaurant, stopped by SAVEUR's Pregame Lounge.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Now on to the JBFA show!

Dolester Miles

Dolester Miles of Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham, Alabama enjoys a SAVEUR flask of Woodford Reserve after winning best pastry chef.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Belinda Leong and Michel Suas: B. Patisserie

Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, B. Patisserie, San Francisco, win for Outstanding Baker.

Matt Taylor-Gross

SAVEUR passed out flasks

SAVEUR passed out flasks filled with Woodford Reserve to the lucky James Beard Foundation Award winners.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Paula Wolfert

Paula Wolfert is the 2018 awards’ Lifetime Achievement Honoree.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Clare Reichenbach

James Beard CEO Clare Reichenbach toasts with some Woodford Reserve.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Charleston’s FIG restaurant group

Charleston’s FIG restaurant group is honored for its Outstanding Wine Program.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Neil Bodenheimer and Kirk Estopinal

The team at cocktail bar Cure in New Orleans, owned by Neil Bodenheimer and Kirk Estopinal, celebrates their win for Outstanding Bar Program.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Helen Rosner and Kat Kinsman

Writer Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, and Extra Crispy editor Kat Kinsman take in the architecture of Chicago's Lyric Opera House.

Matt Taylor-Gross

chef Vivian Howard and Ben Knight

Chef Vivian Howard and Ben Knight of Chef and the Farmer presented at the awards, but they take a moment to smile for the camera.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Jeremiah Langhorne and Melany Robinson

Best Chef Mid Atlantic winner Jeremiah Langhorne and Melany Robinson, Polished Pig.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Nina Compton

Best Chef South Nina Compton.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Chef Hugh Acheson

Chef Hugh Acheson looks suave backstage at the awards.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Rodney Scott

Barbecue legend and Best Chef Southeast winner Rodney Scott.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Best Chef Great Lakes winner Abraham Conlon

Best Chef Great Lakes winner Abraham Conlon had the best socks of the evening.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Marcela Valladolid

Food Network star Marcela Valladolid looked radiant at the James Beard Awards.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Presenter Zooey Deschanel and husband Jacob Pechenik

Presenter Zooey Deschanel and with her husband, Jacob Pechenik.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Chefs Amanda Freitag, and Alex Guarnaschelli with Colby Lewis

Chefs Amanda Freitag and Alex Guarnaschelli pose with Hamilton cast member Colby Lewis.

Matt Taylor-Gross

Missy Robbins

Best Chef New York Missy Robbins.

Matt Taylor-Gross